Wednesday (10) evening’s “Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka-2020” Awards Ceremony at BMICH that recognises companies that are a cut above the rest in terms of value they create for their shareholders, customers, employees and the wider community in general in an exclusive gesture of appreciation presented a rare and distinguished recognition of ‘Leadership with Distinction’ Award to General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, who graced the awarding ceremony as the Chief Guest.
Organized jointly by the International Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ICCSL), the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the Daily Financial Times newspaper, this year’s “Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka-2020” Awards Ceremony had General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army as the Chief Guest and Deputy High Commissioner of India HE Vinod K Jacob as the Guest of Honour. The keynote speaker was Mr Alpesh Shah, Managing Director of India’s Boston Consulting Group and Senior Partner who touched on the thematic ‘Challenges for Business Post COVID-19’ in his address.
The day’s glittering ceremony, attended by a limited cream of the business industry due to COVID-19 health guidelines, saw its start of proceedings after the arrival of the Chief Guest, Guest of Honour and the Keynote Speaker. After a video preamble and electronic lighting of the traditional oil lamp, the stage was set for the opening remarks of the CIMA Country Head, followed by video speeches of the ICCSL Secretary General and the CIMA President in succession. Soon after the keynote address, a presentation of the Head of Judge Panel and judges for Awards was introduced to the gathering and the Guest of Honour was then invited to deliver his speech to the annual event.
The day’s spectacle reached its climax as the compere without mincing words invited the day’s Chief Guest, General Shavendra Silva on stage for distribution of ten top company awards in the “Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka-2020” ceremony as being the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka.
The thought-provoking address of the Chief Guest for the occasion drew parallels and went on referring to the ‘Army’s Way Forward Strategy-2020-2025’ in effect; “It is often essential to have the prospects or a way-forward strategy at least for five years aligning the desired business and corporate objectives with the present standards of the company, so that benchmark standards could be achieved after each year and the necessary changes in the organization can be decided. Sri Lanka Army bears the testimony to its usefulness with our highly effective ‘Army Way forward Strategy 2020-2025,” General Shavendra Silva pointed out.
(See below the full text)
The Master of Ceremonies drawing attention on a video interview of the Former US State Secretary General Colin Powell then announced that the evening has a special feature which recognizes Awards for Sri Lankan leadership skills, quite parallel to what General Colin Powell spoke about: ” Leadership is all about human interaction, They believe in You and trust You. Empathy, earnest willingness to fight on behalf of your followers makes them outstanding as you understand their strengths and weaknesses. In a disciplined organization of high standards, this is feasible,”.
The organizers, well convinced of unparalleled leadership traits in General Shavendra Silva, particularly his dynamic and challenging role as Head of the Task Force for Control of COVID-19 epidemic in Sri Lanka amid roars of applause then invited him to accept a Special Award, dedicated to his “Leadership with Distinction in Heading the Task Force on COVID-19 in Sri Lanka”.
Doctors and Hospital staff at the IDH Hospital and Ms Aban Pestonjee were also among recipients of special Awards on the same occasion. As the final segment, several awards were also presented to “Most Admired Leaders” in business by the organizers inviting a few of those distinguished guests on stage before the curtain came down on the event. General (Retd) Daya Ratnayake, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority and former Commander of the Army was among the attendees.
Full text of the Chief Guest’s Speech is as follows;
“It is indeed my pleasure and honour to participate in the ‘The Ten Most Admired Companies Sri Lanka’ award ceremony 2020 and address this gathering this evening. At the onset let me congratulate the companies who were awarded today as the most admired companies in 2020. Also let me congratulate International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka, the Charted Institute of Management Accounts and Daily Finance Times for organising this great event for the 3rd time amidst many constraints.
The events of this nature to recognise the organisations who have excelled in the business including the value they have created for the customers, employees and public, are fascinating, and I hope this will encourage the entire commercial sector of this country to support stakeholders, build capabilities, and seek for innovations as well as venturing abroad into new markets for more revenues.
As you all know, the commercial sector is one of the worst-hit aspects in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. The menace which has adversely affected the entire world, and often labelled as the most significant socio-economic hiccup in the recent history, has arguably retarded Sri Lanka’s economy, which mainly depends on the tourism trade, readymade garment industry, and agricultural export. ThereforeI understand that every business is under constraints. However, during the last year, you have relentlessly taken the effort to prevent this country’s economy, falling to an irreversible level. Therefore, as the Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID 19 Pandemic, I would like to thank the commercial sector of this country on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka.
With the new normalcy prospects, the Governments has taken many important initiatives and policies to create a favourable trade environment and encourage businesses to support achieving inclusive and sustainable growth. Learning from COVID 19 impacts, new prospects focus on attaining the resilience in the country’s economy by increasing the local business opportunities, value-adding of exports, increasing finished products, diversifying the exports, moving to renewable energies, exploiting the foreign market demand for skill and knowledge base human capital, increasing the domestic food-making capacity etc.
Also, changes to the pattern of living, supply chain, tourism as well as information and data management will have many other associated changes in the business domain, and introduce more opportunities as never before. Therefore, the business sector has a significant role to play in time to come, for the country’s sustainable growth and development. Moreover, under the new normalcy, and safer environment prevailing in Sri Lanka compared to other countries in the region, will enable the commercial counterparts of Sri Lanka to gain an edge over other competitors, increase their market share, boost stakeholder value and absorb foreign investments and partnerships. Therefore I request to grab today’s business opportunities in front of you with a positive mind. Cooperation and partnerships are essential tools for companies to strengthen their capabilities and internationalise the trades. It helps the companies to be resilient and recover soon after any hiccup. This also is an area that the Government has been strongly supportive of. These initiatives can provide companies with a narrow roadmap to broaden their scope and achieve success. I hope COVID 19 situation gave us a good opportunity to understand where we stand, how our trades can retard. Therefore, companies can assess and identify weaknesses and strengths and areas for improvement, and then act on those via a systematic approach to improve business performances.
It is often essential to have the prospects or a way forward strategy at least for five years aligning the desired business and cooperate objectives with the present standard of the company so that benchmark standards to be achieved after each year and the necessary changes in the organization can be decided. Sri Lanka Army bear the testimony for its usefulness with our highly effective ‘Army Way forward Strategy 2020-2025’.
As this award ceremony correctly assessed, caring and consideration of business partners, consumers, and employees other than the profit are critical cornerstones to measure how successful a company is. Therefore, accolades of this nature enable companies to distinguish themselves whether they are credible players in the business arena and understand the stability, connectedness, accessibility, and ease of doing business compared to other counterparts. Therefore, I must thank the organisers of the event for creating such a culture within the business community.
Once again giving my profound gratitude for International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka, the Charted Institute of Management Accounts and Daily Finance Times for inviting me for this event as the chief guest, let me close by congratulating this year’s award winners. Your achievements clearly demonstrate the importance of developing strong fundamentals for future growth regardless of revenue size or industry sector. As we are striving to overcome today’s challenges and seize tomorrow’s opportunities as a country, I hope the success stories of tonight’s award winners will motivate other organisations to improve their standards and foster effectively in the future economy. I wish you all the best in taking your businesses to even greater heights with health, wealth and happiness to you and your beloved ones in time to come. “